Tom Brady was 29-of-45 in Sunday's loss to the New York Jets. He threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns, so hardly his worst game ever. But certainly not his best, either. After all, he was sacked a season-high five times. And he threw an interception -- his first interception since Oct. 17 (nearly three months without a pick).
But moreover, all game long, Brady just looked ... off. The 21 points the Patriots' offense put up was its lowest total since their Week 9 loss to the Cleveland Browns (and oddly enough, Rex Ryan's brother, Rob), when they managed just 14 points.
As Pats Pulpit says, "the Jets flat out dominated the Patriots on Sunday night." But how'd they do it? Pats Pulpit explains:
The Jets Defense Applied A Lot Of Pressure On Brady
It seemed all night that the Jets front seven were winning the battle against the Patriots offensive linemen. It seemed that all game long, that the right side of the Patriots offensive line was outplayed by Shaun Ellis and Sione Pouha on the Jets defensive front.
Ellis was arguably the Jets most valuable player on defense, as he beat Dan Connolly and Sebastian Vollmer on the inside on several occasions and accounted for two of New York's five sacks against Brady. Ellis was also able to take advantage of an injured Dan Koppen, who accounted for one of Ellis' to sacks. [...]
The Jets Safeties Successfully Eliminated Rob Gronkowski And Aaron Hernandez
Arguably Brady's favorite two targets, rookie tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez were virtually non-factors on Sunday night, as they combined for five receptions for 69 yards and no touchdowns.
Brady had been targeting Gronkowski a lot, especially in their last three games. Gronkowski combined for four touchdowns and New England's last four regular season. Hernandez, meanwhile was Brady favorite target when facing the Jets, as he combined for nine receptions for 162 yards and a touchdown against New York. Virtually both were a non-factor, which hurt the Patriots offense. [...]
The Jets Cornerbacks Came Up With Big Plays When It Mattered
The Patriots receivers were not necessarily shut out, they were just shut out on key third down an fourth down plays the forced them to give the ball back to the Jets.
On a critical fourth down conversion that Tom Brady and company had to make late in the fourth quarter, Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie was able to battle Deion Branch just enough for him to not see the ball. This conversion was critical to any possible New England comeback, as the turnover on downs led to the Jets getting the ball, and taking off about two minutes off the clock.